Thursday, July 26, 2007

Redemption! AKA: New Pope, Kathryn Hopes, Pop Mopes

Bee Gees Song of the Day: To Love Somebody

I live and breathe for you But what good does it do If I ain't got you, ain't got you?
Fast forward several years. So much has changed. John Paul II has gone on to the Great Beyond. A new pope, Benedict, is named to carry on his mission. I am now gainfully employed, and have since married and had my first child. Life is good. But still, something is missing.

My feelings of failure, while they have waned with the years, nag at my subconscious like a slow leak in a pipe hidden deep within your walls. Not noticeable on the surface, but creating unforeseen damage within.

Until one day, while leaving mass (at a time when I was quite diligent about attending), I came across two young girls manning a table, imploring congregants to support their missionary efforts. It seems that they were raising money for a trip to Italy, where they, as I did lo those many years ago, would have an audience with the Pope. Unlike me, however, they apparently had been clued into the “no sale of blessed items” hoo ha, and they were earning their transport by selling rosaries which they would take with them to be blessed by the Pope during their audience with him. They would then bring them back and deliver them to the congregants who had purchased them prior to their trip.

A fire lit within me. There it was. For a mere $15, I could finally deliver what I could not before. All would be forgiven. I tore open my wallet and fumbled through the bills. I had enough to purchase four. I ordered all four. (Who knew when I might run across a request for a blessed rosary again). I selected two simple brown rosaries with wooden beads and two with bright, rainbow colored beads. I asked the lovely young women, these angels of mercy and my saviors, when the rosaries would be delivered. Their trip was three weeks out at that point, and they would be right in this spot the Sunday after. I smiled and thanked them, and exited the church with a lightness I hadn’t felt in years. Everything seemed brighter, more colorful. It was as if a new life had been bestowed upon me.

Four weeks later, I arrived at church early. The young women were there. I tried not to appear too anxious as I jostled past a young couple and their three children. My angels smiled and pulled up my order. “Yes, you ordered four rosaries, Ma’am. Here they are. Thank you so much for your support.” “Oh no, thank you,” I gushed. You don’t know how much these mean to me”. I clutched them to my breast, and walked into mass.

The next Sunday was Father’s Day. What better day to present this redemptive jewel to my Father. I could see his face, tears welling up in his eyes as he threw his arms around me and told me what a wonderful daughter I was. I actually felt sorry for my sisters, whose gifts surely wouldn’t hold a candle to mine. After dinner, the moment of truth. I could hardly contain my excitement as I handed him a small bag, the rosary therein. As he pulled it out, and examined it curiously, I shared with him the fact that this rosary had been blessed by the one and only – the Pope. His face lit up. “J.P?” he beamed. That’s when I knew that redemption was a fleeting thing. “No. Ben,” I muttered. Once again, that look I had seen seven years ago filled his eyes as he thanked me and told me how much it meant to him. His feigned gratitude hung in the air like a bad odor you hoped no one else would notice. Clearly, there must be a hierarchy of popes, at least in my father’s eyes, and John Paul II was The Great One. Who knew? I figured a pope is a pope is a pope, right? No. Apparently not. I had failed once again. And the finality of it weighed on me like a boulder. There would never be a chance for true redemption. After all, JP II was dead. It would be impossible to present my father with a JP blessed rosary.

Or would it?

Tomorrow: JP lives.


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